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Do electronic record systems start or stop medical negligence?

There are pros and cons of nearly every electronic system. While an electronic record keeping system might work beautifully in an office for an administrator making the decision whether to purchase it, that same ease of use might disappear in a fast-paced emergency room. Many who work in this environment routinely would most likely qualify it as controlled chaos, which means that medical negligence is always possible. It appears that the new computer systems installed in emergency rooms across the country and here in Oregon could be disrupting the delicate balance needed for ERs to function properly.

Due to multiple patients and numerous interruptions, information is often not inputted promptly, properly or completely. Information on a patient might be jotted down on a piece of paper to be put into the system later, where it might be forgotten. Typographical errors could lead to a patient receiving the wrong treatment or the wrong dosage of a medication. An inability to properly focus on the task could lead to the information for one patient being put into the record of another.

These are just some of the errors that occur far too regularly in emergency rooms across the country. Electronic record systems have reduced some errors, but other mistakes have the potential to make the system more dangerous than helpful. Even when a software manufacturer is convinced that all of the bugs are worked out of the system, that does not mean that the risk to patients is eliminated.

Even doctors and nurses are concerned about the potential for harm. Serious and fatal injuries occur in hospitals more often than anyone would like, and now, a computer system could be responsible for some of them. Oregon residents who believe that they, or a family member, were the victim of medical negligence due to a computer error might benefit from discussing the situation with counsel who is familiar with this area of law.

Source:, "Concerns Emerge Over Electronic Records Errors In ERs", Shefali Luthra, March 2, 2016

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